Darius Slayton’s season wasn’t boring, that’s for certain. It began with commerce rumors and morphed into him taking a pay reduce, all whereas chatter that he could be reduce earlier than the primary recreation constructed to a cacophony. He was inactive in Week 1 and didn’t have a catch the subsequent two weeks whereas enjoying solely 4 after which 14 snaps.
However the Giants’ receiving corps turned a multitude due to accidents, the Kadarius Toney commerce and Kenny Golladay’s diminished position and the 26-year-old Slayton received an opportunity and seized it.
The previous fifth-round select of Auburn turned Huge Blue’s finest deep menace. He may not have produced touchdowns the way in which he did as a rookie in 2019, when he grabbed eight, however he had 46 receptions and even led the Giants with 724 receiving yards, ending sixth within the NFL in yards per catch (15.7).
Now, because the Giants work on the roster this low season – they should discover a bona fide No. 1 receiver – GM Joe Schoen and the remainder of the brass have to determine if Slayton nonetheless matches.
Ought to the Giants hold Slayton, a four-year veteran, or let him go?
The case to maintain him
After the troublesome begin to his season, Slayton persevered and was a productive member of an unheralded receiving group, contributing greater than virtually anybody would’ve guessed again round Week 1. Because the season progressed, Slayton’s snap depend soared. Solely Saquon Barkley was focused extra within the passing recreation.
Sure, the Giants have work to do at his place, however there may very well be a spot for Slayton, who has produced 724-or-more yards receiving 3 times in his profession. He could not match most followers’ ultimate of a No. 1 receiver, however he has had success with the Giants and, within the Wild Card Spherical victory over Minnesota, he supplied an instance of what he can do. Slayton had 4 catches for 88 yards, together with a seize good for 47 yards. As a receiver additional down on the depth chart, he’s interesting.
Slayton had a career-best catch proportion this 12 months (64.8%), greater than seven proportion factors larger than his earlier finest. Right here’s the checklist of receivers who had extra yards-per-catch than Slayton: Miami’s Jaylen Waddle, Buffalo’s Gabriel Davis, Philadelphia’s AJ Brown, the Jets’ Corey Davis and the Kansas Metropolis’s Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Slayton was barely higher than Terry McLaurin of the Commanders (15.5) and Davante Adams of the Raiders (15.2).
That’s fantastic firm.
Slayton additionally has a stage of familiarity with the Giants’ workers and scheme. Plus, he and Daniel Jones appear to have developed a rapport over their careers. At one level throughout this previous season, Slayton stated of Jones: “We’re like an outdated married couple.”
The case to let him go
The free agent class just isn’t wealthy in vast receiver expertise, so which may imply Slayton is in larger demand on the open market. Maybe his price ticket rises quickly and the Giants look elsewhere.
He’s additionally had hassle with drops in his profession – a predominant cause he was on the roster bubble earlier than the season began. Whereas Slayton jacked up his catch price this 12 months, he nonetheless had some drops, together with a obtrusive one within the Wild Card Spherical in opposition to the Vikings.
With about three minutes left within the recreation and the Giants up by seven factors, Jones hit Slayton in stride on a Third-and-15 play. If Slayton had caught the cross, he seemingly would’ve run for a primary down and squashed Minnesota’s hopes of a comeback. However he dropped it and the Giants needed to punt, giving the Vikings one remaining probability they couldn’t convert. Slayton was dejected on the bench and received a pep speak from Brian Daboll, who reiterated after the sport that Slayton was an essential piece.
There’s quite a bit occurring with the Giants’ vast receivers. Richie James, who tied for the crew lead in catches with 57, joins Slayton on the free agent market. Wan’Dale Robinson, the promising rookie who blew out his knee in the course of the season, says his objective is to return by Week 1. We’ll see. Isaiah Hodgins, the waiver declare who received increasingly more essential by the week, needs to be again. Golladay appears more likely to be reduce based mostly on his disappointing Giants’ tenure. Will the Giants re-sign Sterling Shepard, who missed most of this 12 months with a knee harm however is a confirmed tradition booster?
In free company, Jakobi Meyers and JuJu Smith-Schuster are two of the highest names. Does Huge Blue dinner companion Odell Beckham Jr. think about anyplace? Perhaps the Giants add a receiver with their first draft choose, No. 25 general.
Nonetheless it shakes out, Slayton may very well be a nifty No. 3-type receiver on the Giants. If one other crew is prepared to present him an even bigger position meaning larger cash, the Giants ought to in all probability transfer on.